Previously on Short Treks: There was some Tribble trouble on the USS Cabot.
It’s time for the shortest Short Trek yet – this story clocks in at just under seven-and-a-half minutes (not including the end credits, which add two minutes to the running time), and most of the “action” is, well, talking. So it’s likely to be our shortest recap as well. So let’s get into it.
Cadet Thira Sidhu (Amrit Kaur) was on duty in Inventory 2 on Starbase 28, when suddenly the Starbase was attacked. Two officers show up with a prisoner in tow; They can’t reach the brig right now, so this will have to do and they’re going to leave the prisoner here. Sidhu’s in charge. The prisoner? A mutineer. That mutineer? Captain Pike (Anson Mount).
Pike starts giving orders, but Sidhu is still a bit shocked, and trying to find the confidence to stand her ground and follow her actual, legitimate orders. So, Pike starts to explain: See, the Enterprise received a distress call from the Bowman – they were under attach from the Tholians. An unnamed admiral on board ordered the Enterprise not to approach, but Pike wouldn’t abandon the crew. The admiral aborted the rescue mission and tried to relieve Pike of duty, which he didn’t take kindly to… Oh, and isn’t Sihu’s husband on the Bowman? Yeah, he is. See, they both actually applied for positions on the Enterprise, but he got the Bowman, and she was outright rejected and sent to this boring Starbase. And that tidbit reminds Pike that Sidhu and her husband were also the sole survivors of another Tholian attack, just a few years back. And if Sidhu helps Pike, then maybe they can ensure that her husband survives a second Tholian attack.
At first, Sidhu seems like she might be swayed, but after a brief hesitation, she stands her ground. Pike tries quoting Starfleet regulations at her, incomplete and out of context, and she is able point out the flaws in each one. Eventually, Pike threatens Sidhu’s career and heads toward the door (still handcuffed, btw), so she raises her phaser and gives Pike one last chance to back away. And that’s when Pike ends the test. A test, IMO, that was very reminiscent of the psych test that Wesley had to take in “Coming of Age,” as part of the admittance process for Starfleet Academy. But anyway…
Pike reassures Sidhu that her husband is fine, and in fact, he’s taken some leave and is on his way for a visit. Oh, and also, that he recognizes that such a test can seem “inhumane,” but Starfleet officers have to be prepared for the difficulties of war. She gets it. But why would someone like Captain Pike take the time to participate in test for a cadet who didn’t even get posted to a starship? He laughs, and tells her to meet him in the transporter room.
The pair transports over the the Enterprise, where they are greeted by Number One (Rebecca Romijn) and Spock (Ethan Peck), who inform her that everything since her rejection, including the rejection itself, was part of the test. She’ll be spending the rest of the semester on board. Pike walks Sidhu to Engineering, and assures her that if she can keep her wits about her like she did today, she’ll be just fine. She just has one question, though…
“The phaser I had during the test – Was it operational?”
“See you around the ship, Cadet.”